Capability and Motivation

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Sure, I could do it, but why bother?

Every so often we hear stories of genius children. A levels at 3, IQ off the scale, mastered 7 languages before they were potty trained. You’ve seen those stories. But when I was a kid, the story that struck with me was about what happened when they grew up.

One guy in particular had won various competitions and was very smart, and he could do whatever he wanted. Once he grew up, he ran his own bakery. There was a suggestion in the article of how dare he waste his talent like that, as if the job wasn’t worthy, even though he was doing what he wanted.

He was capable of solving big problems, apparently. But having an aptitude for a particular set of skills isn’t enough. If you’re not motivated, you won’t be capable of achieving. Just because you wrote the last set of requirements, or you did that reporting training course doesn’t mean that’s what you want to do for the next 5 years. It’s not just an interview question. If what you’re doing now doesn’t get you to where you want to be in 5 years, you aren’t going to be at your best, unless your leader can contextualise it into your longer term goals.

As a leader, it’s not enough to know who has the skills or the aptitude. Foster motivation and Joy.

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